How the mighty have fallen! Liverpool, long considered one of the “big four” clubs in England, is floundering in mid-table this year. Aston Villa, which challenged for a Champions League spot as recently has 2009-2010, is even lower, just five points clear of the relegation zone. Both of these teams need wins, and they need them fast. They need to play entertaining soccer to show their fans that they aren’t dead.
The last time these teams met was back in December, when Liverpool walked out of Villa Park with a 2-0 win. The last time they met at Anfield—a year earlier—Liverpool won 3-0. However, in the last 10 meetings between the two clubs, Aston Villa holds a 4-3 advantage (with three ties).
With the league position very difficult to improve on, I really would like to see some of the younger or forgotten players given a chance.
At the back Agger and Glen Johnson are injured, and rather than using Carra as one of the replacements give Coates, Kelly and Flanagan a chance as they will be better suited to deal with the speed of Agbonlahor and Bent.
In midfield, Lucas and Adams are out. Spearing has done well enough, but not added anything positive in attack, and Henderson has been given far too many chances to prove himself. Jonjo Shelvey and Gerrard would be an attacking line up that could entertain. But one name that only die hard LFC fans would know of, is Suso. Brought from Barcelona under Rafa, he has been running the reserves like a young Alonso.
Out wide, Raheem Sterling showed two things in his cameo that has been lacking from nearly all the first team regulars. Desire and confidence. Maxi has also played well when given the chance, and either player can only be an improvement on Downing. On the right Kuyt is a popular player with his tireless effort, but even his standards have slipped whereas Bellamy is the only player this season who has not had criticism for his performances.
Up front most fans agree that Carroll is not the answer to partner Suarez, so that leaves one slot open for Bellamy, Suso, Gerrard or Sterling who are all capable of playing up front as a supporting striker.
With nothing to lose or gain in the league, except pride, I believe now is the time to ease some of the fringe players into the team…and I am sure they will play with a lot more pride than some of the established regulars.